What are these idiots doing? They're not idiots, they're champions! See, in England, there have been “gurning” contests since 1267. These are competitions where people make the ugliest possible faces they can… with the ugliest face being declared the winner!
So up top wearing the horse collar is 2010 World Gurning Champion Tommy Mattinson. And to the side here he poses with a women’s champion, Michaela Strachan.
What's the secret to gurning success? According to the Encyclopedia Britannica blog:
A classic gurn involves jutting your lower jaw as far forward and as high as possible, and then covering your upper lip with your lower lip. It has become traditional for contestants to put their heads through a horse collar (known as “gurnin’ through a braffin’”) – and the person who manages to achieve “the greatest transformation of the face without artificial help” wins the contest and becomes the World Champion. [One winner was once disqualified for putting vinegar in his mouth to help him make a face.]
Even the most attractive of people look pretty gruesome when they’re gurning. [But] it’s people with no teeth… who can often produce the greatest gurns—because they can move their lower jaw further up—sometimes even managing to cover their entire nose with their lower lip. In fact one competitor, Peter Jackman, even went so far as to have his teeth removed to make his face more flexible and give him a better chance of winning.
Removing your teeth to win a face-making contest? Now that makes ME gurn!
Photos from the Egremont Crab Fair.
Thanks to No Big Woo for the tip!